• Officially: Republic of El Salvador
  • Capital: San Salvador


  • Population: 6.3 million
    • 2.1 million inhabitants live in the largest city and capital, San Salvador
  • Language: Spanish is the official language
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 68 years (men), 77 years (women)
  • Currency: US dollar & Salvadoran colon


  • Area: 21,041 sq km (8,124 sq miles)
  • The country lies on the west coast of Central America, bordering the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua


  • El Salvador has two main seasons:
    • Dry Season (November to April) is arid and warm with little rain.
    • Rainy Season (May to October) brings with it a higher risk of tropical storms and hurricanes
  • Forecast:


  • Tourist visa is Not required for Canadians
  • To enter El Salvador, Canadians must purchase a tourist card, which costs US$10 and is valid for 30 to 90 days. Local officials determine the validity period of the card.
  • Salvador Tourism Corporation


  • Holy Week: Semana Santa is a religious festival best experienced in San Salvador with street parades and performance art.
    • Occurs in the week leading up to Easter Sunday.
  • May: The Panchimalco Flower and Palm Festival offers up floral arrangements, music, and traditional dress and is celebrated nationwide.
  • July: Fiesta Julias is celbrated through the month of July with parades and cultural events.
  • August: Festival of El Salvador: San Salvador celebrates it’s Patron Saint with live music, parades, dancing, and religious ceremonies.
  • August: Balls of Fire Festival: Held in Nejapa fire-throwers with elaborately painted faces perform on the streets.
  • September 15: Independence Day: Celebrating El Salvador’s independence from Spain in 1821 with parades and fireworks on the beaches


  • Local vehicles are often overloaded and poorly maintained
  • Streets tend to be narrow, with poor signage and lighting
    • Look out for potholes and missing manhole covers
  • Rural roads have wandering livestock and pedestrians
  • Police checkpoints (retenes) are common, especially in and around San Salvador
  • Criminals may assault travellers on isolated rural roads
  • Avoid driving after dark

Safety & Security

  • International Crisis Group
  • Violent crime is a problem throughout the country
    • organized street gangs (maras) are mostly responsible for this
    • Be cautious when using ATMs. Criminals are known to observe, follow, and steal from people who had just made withdrawals
  • UK health authorities have classified El Salvador as having a risk of Zika virus transmission
Emergency Phone Numbers
  • Emergencies: 911
  • Directory: 114
  • National Civil Police: (503) 2202-0000
  • Firemen: (503) 2527-7300
  • Tourist Police: (503) 2511-8300 / 2511-8303
Government Advisories
Foreign Embassies

News & Resources

  • Stories I found interesting and relevant to El Salvador are posted to RobertVinet.com
  • BBC

This page was last updated on 2021.03.18 by Robert Vinet